Lydgate at Long Melford: Reassessing the Testament and “Quis Dabit Meo Capiti Fontem Lacrimarum” in Their Local Context
Abstract

The extracodical stanzas of John Lydgate’s Testament and “Quis Dabit Meo Capiti Fontem Lacrimarum” in the Clopton chantry chapel of the Great Church of Holy Trinity, Long Melford, not only are two intriguing witnesses differing in presentation and language from the manuscript copies but also can be considered as part of a rhetorical program wherein the Lydgate works serve to connect the Clopton family as the benefactors of the chapel to the fabric of the church and the larger community. With the careful selection of particular Lydgate stanzas and their placement alongside visual objects, the result is a text that is unique to the particular context of Long Melford and which reflects not only Lydgate but the parish community as a whole. For this reason, both context and content have to be considered when presenting these verses, rather than relying simply on the text itself.


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